I met this man last week and it turned into this delicious story that I just have to tell ...
I was at The Victoria, in Oxshott, and this guy wandered in with his suitcase. He'd just come up from the train station and was meeting his friend.
Our conversation began simply enough, and then he mentioned he was a Scot, he had been to New Zealand. And I mentioned ... half laughing, that 'my people' came from Scotland. From the Isle of Lewis, 6 generations before me.
And that's when it all got a bit odd. I learned his nickname was Lewis of Lewis, and he was born there on the island I had mentioned. We stayed on, after his friend arrived, and it was a lovely evening. But the 'odd' doesn't end there.
His friend arrived and he introduced her. I said, I feel like I know you ... like we've had conversations.
She felt the same. We talked over where we might have met in this tiny village but agreed we'd never met while wandering out in the Oxshott woods. And she didn't work, nor did she volunteer at any of the charity shops in Cobham, and so we gave up with the guessing and decided it was simply our imagination.
Later, I was talking of having lived in Belgium and suddenly ... Liz asked me if I had photographed Simon and Deirdre's wedding in Brugge, and I said, no but I did photograph their son's confirmation celebration. Their daughter's too ... back in Brussels.
And that's where we'd met. I had both talked with her and photographed her. I was the photographer and Simon is her godson. We were so confused by meeting in the bar in that tiny village in England, that Belgium simply hadn't occurred to us.
A couple of days later, I wandered into the pub, with Marcelle... and there they were, just finishing their lunch with a friend. I wandered over to say hi again. They said pull up a chair, so we did.
Marcelle couldn't stay long but I stayed a couple of hours. It turned out their friend was another child of Lewis. He had been a school friend of Lewis, and now has more than a passing interest in genealogy and the history of the Isle of Lewis.
He invited me to write to him with the details I have of my family, and the two brothers who left for New Zealand, all those years ago. As soon as life settles a little, I'll do it.
I knew Lewis was leaving 10am Monday and I asked if I might photograph him. He said it would be fine, although he was a little reluctant about posing. And so there I was, to the amusement of both him and Liz, at the station on Monday.
I cannot begin to tell you how much I enjoyed meeting that man from Lewis, and Liz too ... then again, it's probably quite clear :-)